Many people struggle to get a good night’s sleep. In fact, it’s easily one of the top complaints that I hear from my readers and patients alike.
Of course, many external factors contribute to poor sleep. Stress, too much caffeine, and excessive screen time are just a few.
But perhaps the toughest sleep-related problem to overcome is when your body’s clock is off balance. And when that happens, daytime sleepiness is just the tip of the iceberg—as science shows this imbalance can lead to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and more.
The good news is, there’s a simple way to help restore circadian rhythms and avoid this fate.
Let’s take a look…
Restore your body clock with food
Prebiotics are the indigestible carbs that feed your gut’s friendly flora. (Some prebiotic-rich foods include leeks, onions, artichokes, and garlic.) And now, scientists have found they might help support your body’s natural clock.
In this study, scientists fed rats either a normal diet or one enriched with prebiotics. Then, they adjusted the rats’ light/dark cycles on a weekly basis for eight weeks.
This would mimic a human traveling to a time zone with a twelve-hour difference every week for two months. And I probably don’t need to tell you what a nightmare jetlag like this would be, as even minor disruptions to your natural circadian rhythms—like daylight savings—can come with disastrous consequences.
Believe it or not, research shows that heart attack rates increase nearly 25 percent on the Monday after we “spring ahead” for daylight savings in March. And studies have revealed time and again that shift work raises risk of a whole host of lethal conditions, from diabetes to cancer.
But get this: Scientists found that the rats who ate a high-prebiotic diet saw a boom in their population of two specific good bacteria. And these bacteria generated metabolites that PROTECTED the rats against circadian disruption.
Now, we are talking about rats here. But clinical trials are currently underway to determine if this kind of prebiotic-rich diet could benefit humans as well. I think I already know the answer, but in the meantime, here’s what else you can do…
Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night
The fact of the matter is that chronic sleep disruptions are really, really bad for your health. And not just in the short term.
Yes, insomnia can lead to debilitating fatigue, headaches, dizziness, and sore muscles. And a night or two of poor sleep can leave you grumpy and cranky at a minimum.
But on a regular basis, insomnia leaves you more vulnerable to depression and anxiety. (Research suggests that insomniacs are five times more likely to struggle with depression.)
And even “just” one week of disrupted sleep can lead to stress, brain fog, and poor judgment. Plus, clocking less than seven hours a night can leave you less interested in sex, and more likely to gain weight. It also more than doubles your risk of diabetes.
Not to mention, your body releases key proteins that protect against inflammation and illness while you sleep, too. That means not getting enough sleep can lead to lower levels of antibodies and immune cells that help the body fight infections. (That’s never a good thing, and especially not in the middle of a pandemic.)
At the end of the day, lack of sleep affects almost every function in your body. That’s why it’s imperative that you do whatever it takes to get enough sleep. I always recommend getting seven to nine hours of quality shuteye each night.
For drug-free strategies to help get better quality and more regular sleep, I encourage you to check out my Perfect Sleep Protocol. And while you’re at it, it certainly won’t hurt to get more prebiotics into your gut, too—as the research I shared today suggests.
So in addition to enjoying naturally prebiotic-rich foods, I recommend adding a high-quality probiotic supplement to your daily regimen—one that features different strains of friendly flora, along with prebiotics, probiotics, and postbiotics.
“Body clock off-schedule? Prebiotics may help: Dietary compounds shown to protect against jet lag-type symptoms.” Science Daily, 09/14/2021. (sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/09/210914100039.htm)